Time to go thrifting! Vancouver is hardly hard up for places to get great second-hand stuff, and everyone’s got their circuit of charity shops, dedicated vintage stores and secret spots where the pickings are good. These are our faves…
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Relocated from their original location across from the Woodwards building to a slightly more southeast spot on Hastings, the unisex shop now shares its space with Window Community Art Shop. At any time you can expect a solid lot of army wear, denim, t-shirts and flannel here, making it a no-brainer destination when you’re on the hunt for something to flesh out your wardrobe.
Located in the high-ceilinged and tiled heritage building that’s also home to Nelson the Seagull, Community Thrift’s Frock Shoppe houses a ton of vintage and secondhand women’s clothing, hand-picked by a team of passionate and formidable women. Organized alternately by material (silks, wools, linens, denim, etc.) and style, items range from mid-century cocktail dresses to a wardrobe-sized collection of antiquities, plus lots of timeless and on-trend garments, shoes and accessories. Warning: this place is notoriously impossible to leave empty-handed.
Probably the most authentic proximation to Grandma’s living room, shopping at Duchess feels like a time warp into a carefully preserved 1960’s or 70’s household in the best way possible. True die-hard vintage lovers will appreciate the ambience as much as the racks of mens and women’s clothing and accessories that walk the edge of cool and kitsch. (You can easily imagine Dan Clowes’ comic-cum-indie flick protagonists Enid and Rebecca shopping and quipping here.)
Always a roaring good time, the Eastside Flea is the place to go enjoy a beer and a snack while chatting with some of Vancouver’s most interesting people and purveyors of vintage — all under one roof!
The longstanding home to local leather bag maker Erin Templeton’s workshop is also a charming hole-in-the-wall vintage shop. Everything is carefully selected by the designer herself, making the experience feel like you’re shopping Templeton’s personal closet. The Templeton touch can be further found in her charming handwritten tags, some with thoughtful notes (such as: “To shoulder pad, or to not shoulder pad, that is the question…). Secondhand and vintage clothing is organized by colour and interspersed with hand-sewn original ET clothing alongside her collection of bags and leather goods; plus a handful of rugs, quilts and other home accessories.
Faulkner and Co. sets itself apart from the Vancouver vintage pack with its niche selection of European high fashion with a stress on streetwear.
The vintage retail offshoot of East Van’s Far Out Coffee Post has lots of charming details, including great signage, happy plants and lots of natural light from their street-facing picture window. The customer service experience can vary from either icy to non-existent, but we suggest you soldier on. The small selection of vintage clothing includes the occasional knockout find and it’s all very reasonably priced.
Eastside Flea vets Mysa and Forrest are the latest to take the leap and open their very own brick and mortar shop (read our early interview with the pair here.) Since the end of 2018, the Kool Thing Vintage duo have been doing double duty sharing their passion for thrift with a rock’n’roll edge via a tight selection of men’s and women’s clothing at the ESF and in their tiny space in Chinatown. Look out for the leather-clad rock n’ roll cat sign signalling you’ve arrived.
This cavernous vintage shop is a Commercial Drive institution. It’s probably as well known for its large themed window displays as it is for its vast selection of men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, jewelry and more. A go-to spot while spending a day on The Drive.
The newly opened (July 2018) flea market concept from the people of Mintage is located upstairs from the also newly reopened Main Street coffee institution, Our Town. The sprawling space’s individual rooms house various vendors, each with their own collections of vintage, used, original and reimagined clothing and accessories.
A female run, self-described “eccentric” shop on Powell Street, the Mutual Shop puts the emphasis on creating a non-intimidating and accessible environment that is also fashion forward. In addition to their rotating stock of affordable street wear, at any time you might also find on their racks a selection of local runway designers, as part of their seasonal sample sales.